Moments

Debates are defined by moments, of which there were a few tonight.

The first one: Romney’s debate performance was largely dominated by one forgettable moment. A deputy sheriff in the diner criticized Romney for comparing his sons’ campaign work to serving on the ground in Iraq. The one-liner: It was wrong, sir, and you never should’ve said it.  Ouch.  Slip-ups reveal something about what a candidate’s really thinking – in this case, Romney’s arrogance.

The second one. Although I think most of the stuffing has been squeezed out of the Paul punching bag, Huckabee gained a few points during his intense back-and-forth with Paul. When Paul essentially said the American people shouldn’t be burdened by the bad decisions of neo-cons in the government, Huckabee replied that we make mistakes as one country. Huckabee continued, placing honor above the Republican party’s electoral fate.

And although not defined by a single moment, there was a notable uptick in the tension between Giuliani and Romney, especially in the exchanges on immigration.

Finally, we’ll have a more detailed analysis tomorrow, but our impression is that Giuliani and McCain performed well, Huckabee in the middle, and then Romney at the back end.

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